Saturday, June 16, 2007

Nature In the Midnight Sun of Svalbard

June 16

After the great time we had photographing the eagles of Norway, and the great idea Ole-Martin had about Johan entering the youth category of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest we needed a new destination. Having a lot of bonus points with SAS I looked at the potential destinations I could reach on points, and lo and behold there was Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen, Svalbard; an exotic arctic destination for the same number of bonus points as any destination in Norway. This was made to order.
Wanting to make the best of our visit we found photographer Jasper Doest who would be holding workshop on Svalbard in June and we signed up.
We landed at Longyearbyen Airport at 8:45PM on the same flight as Jasper, a day ahead of the workshop but Jasper agreed to show us around and take a few pictures in the evening sun.
The first thing Jasper did was pick up the Jeep rental car from the airport. The second thing he did was pick up a rental rifle from the local super market. Although rare, polar bears are still a risk, and it is not permitted to leave town without a rifle. We checked into the hotel and unpacked our bags and then rendezvoused with Jasper for a little reconnaissance of the area, the rifle along in the back of the Jeep.

There is only one road into and out of Longyearbyen, the choice was pretty easy...

This arctic fox was wandering around the outskirts of Longyearbyen at 11:30PM looking for a meal.

Purple sandpiper at midnight

Long-tailed duck at 1:45AM. This is where we had to call it quits for the day. The sun is still over the horizon, but out bodies are finally telling us it's time to go to bed.

Svalbard reindeer, notice the very short legs, which reduce loss of body heat in the extreme winters.

The next morning down by the shore this beautiful grey phalarope came quite close and posed for us.

And the arctic turns are diving for food and courting at the shore in Longyearbyen.

Jesper dropped us of at the Svalbard Hotel at 2AM, and now it was time to make some steak dinner/breakfast. We were in bed by 3AM and the sun was just as bright as it had been since we arrived. I used my SAS eye cover and fell asleep in a matter of minutes...

1 comment:

  1. Inspirerande bilder i elitdivisionen, igen. Vi dödliga tackar och hoppas du visar fler. Kan inte föreställa mig hur det sådär efteråt känns att fotografera med tele på i alla fall medellångt avstånd och ändå kunna använda riktigt snabba exponeringstider. Kring midnatt. Låter nästan för bra för att vara sant, även om jag naturligtvis v e t att det är så det förhåller sig. Mest gillar jag nog - men det är svårt att välja ska du veta - men i alla fall känns nog bilden på den dykande arktiska tärnan som vinnaren i detta gäng. Och jag vet hur svår det är att fotografera dessa skönheter. / Deerhunter